Case Studies Case Studies and Other Research on Family Law Guardianship Becoming the legal guardian of a person in need is one of the most noble things a person can do. Unfortunately, the Massachusetts Family Courts make it extremely difficult for one to become a legal guardian. In 2018, in Suffolk Probate and Family Court case, Attorney Sloane needed to help his Client get guardianship of her own biological daughter with special needs. Once the Client’s daughter turned eighteen there were many things the Client could not legally do for her, such as pick up and administer certain prescriptions. Attorney Sloane was able to help this Client file the necessary paperwork and work with the Department of Social Services in order to get the Petition for Guardianship of an Incapacitated Person approved by the judge. In a 2019 case, in Plymouth Probate and Family Court, a Client’s young relative was being abused by her mother and her mother’s boyfriend. It was in the child’s best interest to stay with the Client, over the mother, but the Client didn’t know if it was appropriate to keep the child away from the mother if given the opportunity. After hearing all the circumstances attorney Sloane decided it was appropriate to petition the Court for emergency temporary guardianship. The Court agreed with attorney Sloane and guardianship was awarded to the Client. Adoption In an ongoing adoption case attorney Sloane has helped his Client navigate the difficult pathways of the Suffolk Family Court’s adoption system. The Client obtained legal guardianship of her infant cousin several years ago. Now the client wishes to take the next step and adopt. It may seem like adopting a child of whom you are already legal guardian would be a simple task, however, the Suffolk Family Court made it as difficult as possible. The Court required a home study by the Department of Children and Family Services (DCF), which DCF did not want to perform because there was no DCF involvement in the case. Private agencies that conduct home studies do exist but cost thousands of dollars, and the Client could not afford such an expense. Attorney Sloane drafted a Motion to Waive Home Study which (based on the fact the client was already the legal guardian of the child) should have been allowed. The judge on the case was new, however, and out of an abundance of caution wanted a home study and denied the Motion to Waive Home Study. Not to be deterred, Attorney Sloane crafted a Motion to Reconsider which ultimately led to the Court ordering DCF to do the home study for free. Divorce Recently, attorney Sloane has had to handle many extremely contentious divorce cases. In one case, there were multiple accusations of assault, and in addition to trying the divorce case in Suffolk Family Court attorney Sloane attorney Sloane had to represent the Client in a restraining order hearing at Boston Municipal District Court as well. After attorney Sloane and co-counsel did a direct examination of the Client and a cross-examination of the Wife, the Wife withdrew her complaint for a restraining order. After the restraining order issue was resolved, Attorney Sloane and co-counsel were able to reach a reasonable agreement with the Wife and her attorney regarding a parenting plan, as well as which property the children would reside in and which school they would attend. Attorney Sloane also prepared the complicated financial statements and advised his client regarding property division in this multi-layered divorce case. Child Custody & Support One of the most complex and interesting custody cases Attorney Sloane has handled recently was in Middlesex County Family Court. In 2018, a Chinese citizen going to college in Boston on a student visa had a child out of wedlock with the Client, who was much older and a US citizen. As if the case wasn’t complicated enough, the Client resided in NC, not MA creating jurisdictional issues. The Client and mother were constantly at odds, and coming up with a comprehensive custody arrangement and parenting plan where the Client could reside out of MA and still spend quality time with the child was a difficult task but attorney Sloane was able to work with the Client and mother’s attorney to negotiate an agreement that was extremely beneficial to the Client and his relationship with his son. One of the most difficult aspects of the agreement was making sure the Client had joint legal custody, which prevented the mother from bringing the child to China without his consent, and drafting language which outlined the narrow circumstances under which the mother could bring the child to China to visit her family. The Mother wanted an exorbitant amount of child support and attorney Sloane was able to negotiate reasonable child support according to the MA child support guidelines. In 2020, a Client approached attorney Sloane with an issue. The Mother of his child was exhibiting out of control behavior: partying, using drugs, and driving drunk. In Middlesex Probate and Family Court, Attorney Sloane was able to get his Client emergency temporary physical custody of the child to keep her safe. Also, the Client had been paying a large amount of child support to the Mother while the child was residing with her. Attorney Sloane was able to get the Client’s child support obligation terminated, and an order dictating the Mother enter a rehabilitation center within a week. In addition, the Court ordered the Mother to begin paying child support to the Father after her completion of the rehabilitation program.